This Saturday, in celebration of Earth Day, the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate Assistants United (GAU) will participate in the March for Science demonstration in Providence, and are inviting the URI community to attend.
The March will take place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the State House Lawn in Providence, Rhode Island.
The GAU’s offshoot group called Speak Out for Science (SOS) will be just one of the organizations to attend the March for Science in cities throughout the country and worldwide. The march aims to “defend the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies and governments.”
The larger March for Science organization will hold their main event in Washington D.C. on the morning of April 22, but more than 500 satellite marches will take place internationally, including the one in Providence and another in Boston.
According to the organizers from the March for Science, the event has a number of different objectives.
The website encourages everyone to “stand together to champion the extensive enhancing effects of science everywhere, for the free exchange of scientific information benefitting everyone, and in protest of the censorship of publicly funded research.”
GAU-SOS also emphasized that they are marching in support of not only scientific research, but also public policy and politics based on evidence.
“The mischaracterization of science as a partisan issue has allowed policymakers to reject overwhelming evidence and is a critical and urgent matter,” the GAU-SOS wrote. “ It is time for citizens who support scientific research and evidence-based policies to take a public stand for the importance of science in our society.”.
At a GAU-SOS event at the Narragansett Bay Campus on Tuesday, members of the organization prepared for the march by making signs and tie-dyeing shirts and lab coats. Some ideas for protest signs that circulated around the room included one-liners like “science is not a liberal conspiracy” and “science, not silence.”
Director of the GAU Danielle Dirocco explained how she considers the GAU’s role in encouraging student groups to organize for what they are passionate about.
“When people have something to say, we want them to speak up and say it, and we want to create an environment to encourage that,” Dirocco said.
Two members of the GAU who helped to create Speak Out for Science, Ph.D. student Kira Homola and Research Assistant Victoria Treadaway, also offered their perspectives on student organizing for the upcoming march. Despite not being officially affiliated with the University, Treadaway says, their efforts depend on the URI community.
“It’s like a solidary movement to be together and to show that science is important to us as citizens, as grad students, and as community members, and we’re hoping by trying to organize URI students that URI can be a presence together, not just as individuals,” she explained.
Homola emphasized the way that the group of people who study science can make a significant impact on the perception of evidence-based science, and said she was excited about the opportunity to get together as a community.
“Despite the fact that this is what I research and this is what I do, I don’t feel like I get to make an impact on the general population really, and the idea of a march is so exciting because there’s so much energy in an event like that, and you get to see others who feel the way you do and encourage each other, and I think a lot of good motivation comes out of a thing like a march for science,” she said.
The March for Science event is free and open to the public, and interested members of the community can find more information on the March for Science RI’s Facebook page and on the URI events page.